Bring the Spring!

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Psalm 85:6

It is early spring in the Southern Hemisphere, where I am. Rows of fresh green trees stand like sprigs of fresh rosemary bordering fields punctuated by blossoming fruit trees and dozens of lambs and calves. New life! In this land where the mornings are still frosty, the whipping air is chill, and river beds are dry, I imagine revival, wide spaces teeming with baby believers, nestled together, discovering the edges of new life, nursing on and nourished by delicious truth, growing as they graze in God’s wide pastures. I imagine buds of faith taking in the warmth of God’s light and opening to bloom beautiful and fragrant. What a hopeful picture God the Creator gives!

What does it take to awaken the spring? The proclamation of truth and planted seeds, feeding and caring for one baby at a time, prayer, and the movement of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:14; Ezekiel 36:26)

Oh Lord, bring the spring! Bring revival!! Begin in me, and use me to bring it through me, for Your sake and glory.

Beauty in the Inner Sanctuary

“The inner sanctuary he prepared in the innermost part of the house, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. He overlaid it with pure gold. And the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.” 1 Kings 6:19-20,22-23,27-28

There is something about the design and construction of God’s temple that fascinates and lifts my heart. Through the ages, churches and cathedrals have been constructed to lift the eyes upward, to make the soul soar in worship as the buttresses and altar rise heavenward. The intricate beauty in design and execution, the details that showed exquisite care, the fine elements used to build, all reflected God’s magnificence. Solomon’s attention given to the inner sanctuary particularly hushes me, as I see in its perfect shape and resplendence a reminder of the attention I must give to my inner sanctuary, my heart where my LORD dwells.

Oh God, You are worthy of lofty thought and exaltation! You are the One Who sanctifies me and is the sanctuary in my midst forever. Make me attentive to all the clutter I allow in my inner sanctuary, to the low living, crude expenditures of time, meaningless distractions I allow in personal worship, and purify me through and through. Help me tend to my time and place with You and give it my very best, in honor of You and for Your glory. (Ezekiel 37:38)

What Fire Cannot Consume

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 119:89

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.’ Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the Lord.” Jeremiah 36:1-3,10,

Wild fires devour hundreds of acres of trees, foliage, and communities, house fires destroy homes, but they cannot remove the love people within them have for one another, or the indomitable truth that life will go on. The scrolls Jeremiah dictated to Baruch were burned in King Jehoiakim’s fire pot, but the fire could not destroy the truth of God’s word they contained. After the people had heard Jeremiah’s message, the officials listened to them, and feared, and told the king. But when the scrolls were read to the king, every few columns, not liking their message, he cut a piece of the scroll and threw into his fire, unrepentant and not afraid. He wanted to seize the prophet and his scribe, to squelch and ignore the Lord’s pronouncement of judgment, but the truth of the proclamation remained. He would be held accountable.

God of Truth, as the wildfires of wantonness and rebellion rage against Your truth, make me bold to live and proclaim it. When many messages are broadcast, opinions are repeated and information flows incessantly, keep me stayed on Your word. Thank You that no matter the inclination to destroy or distort, Your word stands forever.

One Body

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… that he might create in himself one new man in place of two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing hostility. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,…Christ himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God but the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:14-16,18-22

I’ve recently had the privilege of gathering with sisters and brothers in Christ from around the world. I am not sure there is anything that exemplifies the unity of the Body of Christ more than does a room full of hundreds of different nationalities, generations, colors, religious and cultural backgrounds, all singing robust, harmonious praises that have been sung by saints through the centuries to the Lord of Peace, the Cornerstone, the Head of the body. When I think of racial tensions and denominational squabbles, I want to cry, “bring them to the cross!” Language barriers, education levels, blue collar-white collar, formal and street-plain, all are melted by Spirit-filled smiles and affection, unified in Jesus Christ when on our knees we pray together. Hues of skin tone and spiritual maturity blend into an exquisite masterpiece crafted by God’s loving hands, run through by a ribbon of Christ’s blood.

The Cathedral Church of St. Philip, Birmingham, England

“Do not be surprised , brothers, that the world hates you. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. We love because he first loved us.” The church is dwindling in numbers in Europe and the U.K., yet has great power and influence because of the Spirit dwelling within. The world will know we are Christians by our love. The enemy would divide what only the church can present to the world as a picture of the reconciliation offered in our Savior. (1 John 3:13; 4:7,19; John 13:35)

“Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations, Son of God and Son of man; Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.” ~German, 17th century

Thank you, Lord of all, that You put hostility to death by Jesus’s victory at Calvary. Thank You for the oneness Your children enjoy, spanning time, distance, differences. All the nations You have made shall one day come and worship before You. Fill us now to love because, and as, You love us. (Psalm 86:9)

The All-Seeing Eye

“For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity hidden from my eyes. Behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” “For his eyes are on the ways of man, and he sees all his steps.” “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.” Jeremiah 16:17,21; Job 34:21; Prov 5:21

With security cameras now on city streets, police dashboards, in homes and yards, we’ve become accustomed to knowing we are being watched, or at least, could be. Facial recognition is used for unlocking our smart phones, and investigating and determining criminal activity in some countries. We can get unsettled at the loss of privacy, other’s lack of trust, “big brother” watching over us….yet, God has always watched, always known our every step and way. He is the One to whom we are accountable. It’s easy to get caught up in horizontal thinking and living, with ‘the man upstairs’ being Uncle Sam and our defenses on guard against red light cameras and those who observe our activity, but vertical adjustment places us below our Heavenly Father, Who looks on us for our good.

What have I to hide from the merciful eyes of my Savior? What tears do I try to conceal from His compassionate look? What insecurities and fears and weak failings do I fail to bring under His powerful and transforming gaze? Why would I not welcome God’s all-seeing eye to penetrate, purify, and perfect?

Lord, Your eyes run to and from throughout the earth. Knowing You see all, may I live carefully, deliberately, wholeheartedly, blamelessly. You see what lies ahead, You see the meanderings of my thought, You see the condition and yen of my heart; You see after me, and You see to Your purposes and my every need. Give me eyes to see You and the world as You do. (2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 139:2-3; 1 Samuel 17:7; Genesis 16:13)

Steeples with Crosses

God, through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” “I have made you a light…that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” 2 Corinthians 5:18,20; Acts 13:47

Be children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:15,16

Throughout the U.K. and Europe, countryside, villages, and cities are punctuated with steeples with crosses, ancient bold and beautiful beacons lifting high the cross, signifying truth that stands out and apart from the world. Sadly, many are now vacant, or repurposed into restaurants or retail; one in Aberdeen, Scotland is now a casino. What was initially a place of worship and light for the surrounding community can morph into a spiritless, hollow shell when care is not given to maintaining the vital connection with the Lord. When God’s people fail to tend to their own lives, and forget or abandon their first love, Jesus, they dry up and become ineffective and fruitless in making a difference in the world. (Revelation 2:4)

Penzance, Cornwall Coast, England,

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Continue reading “Steeples with Crosses”

Knowing and Meeting Needs

When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,  brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, ‘The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.’” 2 Samuel 17:27-29

What a beautiful paragraph in the middle or turmoil, angst, and desperation. David and his men have fled Jerusalem at the treachery of his son Absalom, who has declared himself king, entered the royal city, and taken David’s concubines ‘on the roof, in the sight of all Israel’ in a display of utter contempt and wanton pride. Absalom’s army now pursues the rightful king, and David’s men are weary and discouraged. Enter Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai! Their lavish gifts are bound with concern, love, compassion, prepared with much thought and delivered at great risk. What a welcome provision!

How attentive am I to the needs of others? Do I stay in touch enough to know what is going on, when a friend, neighbor, or fellow church member is under pressure, grieving, discouraged, or in particular need? Am I willing to spend the time to plan, prepare, and execute, to go the extra mile to deliver the provision to them, and give of my attention and love and presence, my prayer and blessing also? How often do I choose to spend on another instead of myself?

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

God of all bounty, use me to be Your arms and hands of goodness to others. You know their needs– by Your Spirit make me sensitive to know them also, and ready and willing to give generously to meet them. May they recognize that everything comes from You. (Matthew 6:8; Galatians 6:2; Matthew 6:25-33)